How jobs in renewables are powering low-carbon economic growth/
11 million jobs in renewables/
11 million people are now employed in renewable energy worldwide, as more and more countries realise the benefits of renewables.
National policies, along with falling technology costs and the need to address climate change, have driven renewable energy growth and boosted employment in the sector.
Government policies are vital to accelerate investment, build viable supply chains and create the workforce with the necessary skills. Beyond total job numbers, the quality of job creation is of equal importance.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind remain the most dynamic of all renewable energy industries.
Solar PV is the top employer, accounting for a third of the sector’s workflow. Rising output ensured that biofuel jobs remained in second place. Most of these jobs are generated in planting and harvesting of feedstock.
Hydropower, a long-established source of power generation, has the largest installed capacity of all renewables albeit with slower growth.
Renewable energy jobs by country *Click on each country to learn more
Source: IRENA jobs database
More countries create jobs with renewables/
The diversification of renewable energy supply chains is changing the sector's geographic footprint.
39% of global renewable energy jobs
4 078 000 jobs
Solar PV: 2.2 million jobs
Solar Water Heating: 670 000 jobs
Wind: 510 000 jobs
1 235 000 jobs
Solid biomass: 387 000 jobs
Solar PV: 96 000 jobs
Wind: 314 000 jobs
Largest biofuels employer
1 125 000 jobs
Biofuels: 832 000 jobs
Solar Water Heating: 41 000 jobs
Solar PV: 15 600 jobs
Wind: 34 000 jobs
Largest biofuels producer
885 000 jobs
Biofuels: 311 000 jobs
Solar PV: 242 000 jobs
Wind: 114 000 jobs
719 000 jobs
Solar PV: 719 000 jobs (Grid-connected)
Wind: 58 000 jobs
291 000 jobs
257 000 jobs
Solar PV: 8 240 jobs
Wind: 101 000 jobs
250 000 jobs
171 000 jobs
Engineering and construction: 5 000 jobs
Planning and design: 4 900 jobs
Rest of Africa
117 000 jobs
Republic of Korea
116 000 jobs
Solar PV: 7 500 jobs
111 000 jobs
Wind: 44 140 jobs
98 000 jobs
Solar PV: 54 300 jobs
Solid biomass and biogas: 9 400 jobs
Biodiesel supply chain: 286 000 jobs
66 000 jobs
53 000 jobs
Turkey: 30 500 jobs
Iran (Islamic Republic of): 13 500 jobs
Morocco: 9 000 jobs (Noor Ourzazate)
21 000 jobs
Wind: 16 900 jobs
Solid biomass: 110 000 jobs
Geothermal: 7 450 jobs
Biofuels: 36 600 jobs
20 000 jobs
Solar PV: 13 500 jobs
Wind: 7 100 jobs
9 600 jobs
Solar PV: 2 555 jobs
Wind: 5 343 jobs
Employment in solar across the world
Solar PV employment has reached an estimated 3.6 million jobs.
Globally, the solar PV industry installed 94 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2018. China, India, the United States and Japan were the most important installation markets.
China accounted for 69% of global cell and 64% of module capacities in 2018. Asian countries (excluding India) held shares of 92% and 85%, respectively.
Fifty leading solar PV panel manufacturers maintain factories in 23 countries.
Leaders in wind employment
Most of the wind industry’s activity still occurs on land. The 540 GW of cumulative onshore capacity compares with about 23 GW in offshore projects.
But offshore is gaining traction, receiving USD 25.7 billion of investments in 2018, or 20% of the total. For the first time, China led the way with offshore projects worth USD 11.4 billion. European projects attracted spending of USD 3.3 billion.
About half of all wind jobs are in Asia, while Europe accounts for 28% and North America for 10%. Regionally, wind employment is more balanced than solar employment.
Expanding energy access creates jobs
Renewable energy plays an increasingly important role in improving energy access.
Global renewable off-grid capacity more than doubled in the past decade and off-grid solar PV expanded 10-fold, helping create jobs in many regions of the world.
Renewable energy deployment in Africa is still comparatively small, but there are encouraging developments. Off-grid solar has already generated more than 100 000 full-time equivalent jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa, a number that is set to multiply in coming years.
Fair, inclusive energy transition
For true sustainability, the benefits of renewables must extend to all. Gender equality and fair distribution need to be at the forefront of energy transition.
Employment needs to be inclusive, providing opportunities for people with different talents and skills, and ensuring that no population group, such as women, is systematically excluded.
The multi-disciplinary dimension of the renewable energy field appeals to women in ways that the fossil fuel industry does not. Women currently represent 32% of the renewable energy workforce, substantially higher than the 22% average reported for the global oil and gas industry.
Many countries are prioritising renewable energy development as a pillar of low-carbon economic growth.
Employment opportunities bolster sustainable development and give more reason to commit to renewable energy.